Poul Skytte Christoffersen
Former Diplomat, Chairman, Europa and European Policy Centre (EPC), Copenhagen / Brussels
Poul Skytte Christoffersen is Working Chairman of Think Tank EUROPA in Copenhagen as well as Chairman of the European Policy Centre (EPC) in Brussels. In addition, he serves as Senior Adviser at the international executive advisory firm Teneo. Christoffersen’s positions have included being Denmark’s Permanent Representative to the EU (1995–2003, and 2009), Special Adviser to High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP) Catherine Ashton in setting up the European External Action Service (EEAS), and Head of Cabinet (Council 1980–1994 and Commission 2006–2009). He holds an MA in Economics from the University of Copenhagen (1972) and a Diploma of Higher European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges (1973).
Head, Coordination Unit, Secretariat General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rome
Alfredo Conte is a career diplomat with Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFA) who has extensive experience in European foreign policy. In addition to having been a Senior Adviser to a number of Italian foreign ministers, he has held positions in Berlin and Hong Kong (during the time of the handover to China). Between 2008 and early 2018, he was seconded to the EU institutions in Brussels – first to the Policy Unit of Javier Solana, then-high representative for common foreign and security policy, and subsequently to the European External Action Service. In 2011, he was appointed by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP) Catherine Ashton to be Head of the EEAS Strategic Planning Division. Under HRVP Federica Mogherini, he has been directly involved in elaborating the EU’s Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy. Since returning to Italy’s MFA in 2018, he has been Special Adviser to the 2018 Italian OSCE Chairmanship in Office. Since November 2018, he has been in charge of overall coordination in the MFA as Head of the Coordination Unit in the Secretariat General. Conte holds a degree (cum laude) in Law from the University of Naples.
Senior Researcher, German Development Institute (DIE), Bonn
Jörn Graevingholt is Senior Researcher in the Transformation of Political (Dis-)Order Programme at the German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn, Germany, where he heads the ‘Forced Displacement and Migration’ project. Prior to that, he led or co-led a number of DIE research projects, including ‘Supporting Sustainable Peace’, ‘Transformation and Development in Fragile States’, and ‘Development Cooperation and Non-State Armed Groups’. He has also conducted research in numerous countries in the post-Soviet world, Asia and Africa. Since 2008, Graevingholt has been a member of the German government’s Advisory Council for Civilian Crisis Prevention and Peacebuilding, for which he was the co-chair from 2011 to 2018. His recent publications include The Securitization of Foreign Aid (co-ed. with Stephen Brown, Palgrave 2016) and the data project ‘Constellations of State Fragility’ (https://statefragility.info). Graevingholt read Political Science, History and Slavonic Studies in Freiburg. He holds an MPhil in European Studies from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Political Science from Humboldt University Berlin.
Associate Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels
James Moran is an Associate Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels. He has extensive experience in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In 2016/2017, he served as the Principal Adviser on the MENA region at the EU’s European External Action Service (EEAS). Prior to that, he was Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt between 2012 and 2016. In 2011, he was the EU’s Senior Coordinator in Libya during the country’s revolution that year. Between 2006 and 2011, he was the EU’s Asia Director and served as the chief negotiator for a number of EU partnership agreements with China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Between 2002 and 2006, he was head of the China division in Brussels. Between 1999 and 2002, he was the EU Ambassador to Jordan and Yemen. Earlier experiences in the 1980s and 1990s included service with the EU Delegations in Jamaica and Ethiopia as well as various assignments in Brussels. Before joining the EU in 1983, he worked for the UK government and in the private sector in London. A UK national, he attended Keele University, Harvard University and the University of London.
Head, European External Affairs Programme, ECDPM, Maastricht
Andrew Sherriff is Head of the European External Affairs Programme at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), a Maastricht-based thinktank at which he has worked since 2008. He has regularly been a part of teams evaluating the implementation of the EU’s foreign and development-cooperation policies while on over 30 assignments in Africa, Europe and Asia. Prior to joining ECDPM, he served as an adviser to NGOs, various European foreign ministries and agencies, and EU presidencies. From 1999 to 2004, he worked at the peacebuilding organisation International Alert. In 2019, he edited Investing in the Europe’s Global Role: The must-have guide for the negotiations of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021–2027 (Maastricht: ECDPM). He has authored over 50 policy papers published by thinktanks and research institutes as well as academic articles covering Europe’s international relations as well as peace and conflict issues. Originally from Scotland, Sherriff is a political scientist who has studied at Staffordshire University, the University of Limerick in Ireland, and the University of Calgary in Canada. He has also been a visiting professor at American University in Washington, D.C.
Expert Adviser, Strategic Planning and Capacity Building, Brussels
Paul Smith is an expert adviser in strategic planning and capacity-building for reform. He is currently helping the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office develop a human resources management (HRM) strategy to assist a government in the Middle East. Before that, he worked in Iraq as NATO’s ‘senior civilian’ (effectively its ambassador) in Baghdad, reporting directly to the UN’s assistant secretary-general for support operations. This mission included reviewing and restructuring a failing international programme of reform that involved 26 nations and required a complete overhaul to ensure it delivered the agreed objectives in addition to performing a gap analysis to identify required additional support. Since 2000, he has acted in a number of strategic planning and senior management roles for NATO and other international bodies. Prior to this, he held several positions as an officer in the British Army. Smith holds a BSc in Information Management Systems as well as an MSc in Designing Information Systems. He is a graduate of the UK’s prestigious Joint Services Command and Staff College, to which he has returned as an instructor, as well as a senior executive coach (Level 7). He is also currently pursuing an Executive Master in Governance & Development Policy at ULB in Belgium.
Director, European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Brussels
Catherine Woollard currently works as Director of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), a network of 104 NGOs in 41 European countries that work to defend the rights of displaced persons in Europe and in European foreign policy. Prior to joining the ECRE, she worked on peace, security and governance as Director of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office as well as with a number of NGOs, including Conciliation Resources and Transparency International. She has also worked as a consultant for governments and international organisations and as a university lecturer, gaining international experience across Europe, Africa and Asia. She holds degrees in politics and law.